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  • I'm an admin of a game related wiki, and I'm kind of doing a pass at cleaning up some aspects of it. One of those is the license/copyright notice on the images.

    Most of the images on the site will obviously come from screenshot taken while playing the game, with some other content coming from what the publisher has put on their site.

    To make life easier to our contributors, I have created two new license templates: License-FairUseScreenshot:

    This file is a screenshot from the game, using material copyrighted to Webzen West inc. and Gala Lab Corp. [[Media:{{PAGENAME}}|This file]] is [[Wikipedia:Copyright|copyrighted]]. The individual who uploaded this work and first used it in an article, and subsequent persons who place it into articles, assert that this qualifies as ''fair use'' of the material under [[Wikipedia:Fair use#Fair use under United States law|United States copyright law]].


    ...and License-CopyrightedFairUseOfficialMaterial:

    This file is an image taken from the official Rappelz website and it is copyrighted to Webzen West inc. [[Media:{{PAGENAME}}|This file]] is [[Wikipedia:Copyright|copyrighted]]. The individual who uploaded this work and first used it in an article, and subsequent persons who place it into articles, assert that this qualifies as ''fair use'' of the material under [[Wikipedia:Fair use#Fair use under United States law|United States copyright law]].


    Is that right? Or is the image copyrighted to the user who uploaded the image?

    Also, if a user takes a screenshot, paints stuff over it (e.g. marking a specific location over a screenshot of a map), what should be the license?

    Thanks!

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    • If the images are used for promotional purposes related to the copyrighted material, the above notices are fine.

      However, as far as I know, if someone modifies the original images, it technically can't be called "fair use". In that case, you would need to find some statement by the copyright holder that says it is okay to modify the image and re-publish it. Outside of that, you pretty much just say the images are being used in potential violation of copyright.

      Maybe someone else knows some other technicality I'm not aware of, but that is my understanding.

      On WoWWiki, we fortunately had the permission of Blizzard Entertainment for using most all copyrighted material, so it wasn't a problem. Just the fact that you are concerned puts you at a higher level than most, but that doesn't mean you will get an answer you like.

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    • Contact Fandom Staff with this question. This needs to be passed to the FANDOM legal department due to ever-evolving complexities of the law.

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    • It would be extremely helpful if you posted FANDOM staff's reply here.

      It isn't super helpful, but here is a very recent (September 4, 2019) article on copyright law: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/debunking-copyright-myths

      Here is an FAQ from the EU Intellectual Property Office: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/faqs-on-copyright-it

      Just as an aside, if FANDOM is required to fully enforce copyright laws... THEY... ARE... SCREWED.

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    • Thanks for the replies. I have contacted the team with that. I'll look at the links you've submitted, thanks!

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    • The copyright holder is the one who got the creators sign away their copyrights, which is not the uploader.

      Fair use is an exception from copyright protection which is given by courts and hinges on multiple factors, some of them being educational purpose or not making money from it (Wikia is making money from it in roundabout ways).

      If you present screenshots in an unaltered fashion and also give credit to the original creator and current copyright holder, you should be fine. Not because of fair use, since that is decided in court, and you don't want to be brought to court in the first place. But most publishers see fandom (lowercase f) as good publicity and wouldn't want to be seen as tyrants cracking down on fans who don't do any measurable damage.

      imo.

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    • You won't get taken to court for uploading copyrighted material to Fandom - the IP owner will just send a DMCA notice to Fandom and they'll take the image down. The owner decides if it's fair use, not the uploader - they can cite it, but don't have final say.

      Unchanged images are usually fine. I seem to recall a conversation with staff years ago where they said the majority of DMCA notices come from DeviantArt artists who find their artwork uploaded without credit or permission - understandable.

      Big companies tend not to go after fansites using screenshots unless they profit directly. Like, sell T-shirts or monetize YT vids with clips or sound. It's too much work to enforce copyright on every screenshot, meme and avatar. The reverse laws people think Article 13 etc. brings would place the burden on the host - Fandom, not you.

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    • Things with the law can get convoluted. Screen shots are typically straight up creators' copyright. Just depends on how tightly each holds onto their rights. As mentioned, usually they don't waste time going after non-profiting small fry, but will if someone is selling for profit (phone cases, t-shirts, etc.).

      Part of the law takes into account "transformative/derivative works". This is generally in the realm of fan-arts and fan-fics. for example, Kim Possible belongs to disney, but Kim Possible drawn wearing a star-spangled bikini is a *composition* which Disney itself never did. Especially if the *artstyle* is suitably different from Official Art styles. So that transformative/derivative image has a *measure* of protection in that the artist injected a measure of their personal interpretation.

      See? Convoluted. And while I'm unsure of the rest of the commenters here, I'm only a paralegal in a couple states. Which means that "I know enough to know I don't know enough".

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    • I guess I should have made clear... there is an important distinction between violation and enforcement. The amount of copyright violations at FANDOM is beyond counting, but the amount of enforcements (DMCA notices and such) is extremely low. So as others have said, you shouldn't worry too much.

      That said, the EU FAQ has a very straightforward violation case that FANDOM could enforce itself at some level, but probably won't unless it costs them money.

      https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/faqs-on-copyright-it#14

      14. My avatar is based on my favourite movie star, cartoon character or sports club. Can I get in trouble for infringement of copyright or any other legislation because of this?
      In virtual worlds, the creation of avatars based on film stars, cartoon characters or sport clubs may constitute illicit conduct, insofar as the authors of the work used (for instance a cartoon) or the holders of other intellectual property rights or exclusive third party rights (such as the rights to the image of a famous footballer owned by a football club) have not authorised the operator of the virtual world platform to use their names, images, logos or trade names. This can involve not only copyright, but also other rights related to obtaining financial advantage from the image of a person or entity, especially in business or advertising.

      Although this answer might imply 3D avatars, it likely also means the little pictures everyone uses for their user avatars.

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    • Here is the answer I got from Fandom:

      [...] Unfortunately, I can provide only very limited advice here, particularly as we are not copyright lawyers. The following is my lay-person understanding, and is not official legal advice.

      Those license templates seem okay to me. I believe the images would not be 'owned' by the person who took them, if they are just of game content.

      I believe annotated screenshots would generally still come under the licenses you posted, since the underlying (and majority of the) content is still the game.

      I hope this helps, and best regards, [...]


      So I guess I might eventually just review the files and add one of those templates, but remove the part about "fair use", because that's not the one who uploads who decides.

      Thanks all!

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    • So, I think the FANDOM staffer is very wrong... minor alteration is actually worse than massive change.

      See How much of a photo do you need to alter to avoid copyright infringement? Hint: Cheshire Cat from Stanford University Libraries.

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    • Ultimately, it looks like FANDOM staff should have an answer for this. Or it's convenient to not have an answer. I dunno.

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    • Law is very complicated; especially when dealing with things internationally. There are lawyers that specialize in copyright their entire career and even they can be wrong/mistaken. I would not expect staff at a tech company to have a comprehensive understanding of copyright laws.

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    • No... I guess spending the money to prevent an issue that will never come costs too much.

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    • Andrewds1021 wrote:

      Law is very complicated; especially when dealing with things internationally. There are lawyers that specialize in copyright their entire career and even they can be wrong/mistaken. I would not expect staff at a tech company to have a comprehensive understanding of copyright laws.

      While what you said is true, most medium to large-sized companies (which FANDOM definitely qualifies) have some sort of legal team of 1 or more lawyers who would need to have at least some contacts with copyright expertise, especially at a media content company. If the FANDOM staffer were serious about answering the question, they would have contacted said legal team and tried to forward the answer.

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    • We used to have Semanticdrifter as our copyright professional. I don't know if they replaced him.

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    • Pretty sure Semanticdrifter wasn't a lawyer, though. Here is one of his old blogs: Understanding Fair Use November 27, 2012.

      This blog does not address international copyright law.

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    • Also, the blog is nearly 7 years old so may be outdated.

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    • U.S. copyright law probably hasn't changed that much, but since it doesn't include international info, it isn't that useful. The changes in EU copyright law recently have been dramatic and significant.

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    • A FANDOM user
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